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Sehwag joins furious fans as penalty shootout controversy rages at Commonwealth Games

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Indian hockey fans have accused the match officials of "extremely biased umpiring" which resulted in the semifinal loss against Australia at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (File photo courtesy: Hockey India)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has apologised for the penalty shoot-out stopwatch controversy during the Indian women team's semi-final match against Australia at the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Friday.

Australia edged past India via a shoot-out to set up a final against England. However, the Indian fans are furious after Australia's Rosie Malone, whose first attempt was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Savita Punia, was given another chance as the stopwatch hadn't started.

In a statement after the match, the FIH said that the penalty shootout "started mistakenly too early" as the clock was not yet ready to operate.  

"The process in place for such situations is that the penalty shootout has to be retaken, which was done. This incident will be thoroughly reviewed by the FIH in order to avoid any similar issues in the future," the governing body for hockey said while apologising for the incident. 

That, however, did little to pacify the fans of Indian hockey who accused the match officials of "extremely biased umpiring" which resulted in the semifinal loss.

Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag too expressed his anger on social media, saying the men in blue too suffered such "biasedness" before they became a "superpower" in world cricket.

"Penalty miss hua Australia se and the Umpire says, Sorry Clock start nahi hua. Such biasedness used to happen in cricket as well earlier till we became a superpower, Hockey mein bhi hum jald banenge and all clocks will start on time. Proud of our girls," wrote the former batter.  

"One day, Indian Hockey Federation will be like BCCI and all the clocks will be on time," tweeted another Indian hockey fan.

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